Dr. Ami Ranani has always had an interest in the health care system and for the past 35 years he has taken care of people's eyes and needs at his Somers practice.
"I always thought being a doctor and helping people would make me feel better," he said. "The combination of that and earning a good living and always having a job – even if doctors make less now in this economy of unemployment – is good."
Ranani told Patch his profession has been listed as one of the best jobs. He agrees.
"I recommend my profession highly," he said.
Before establishing the Somers Eye Center in 1978, Ranani worked as an ophthalmologist in White Plains and was introduced to the area by a secretary in the office. He established the Somers Eye Center before IBM and Pepsi were built and at around the same time Heritage Hills was being built.
"I always had an interest in health care and thought vision health was so important," Dr. Ranani said of how he became interested in optometry.
In 2002, his practice expanded to include a fully-stocked contact lens and full service optical department. He also works with his son David, who is head of the optical department.
"We have a huge inventory of contact lenses," Ranani said. "We take pride in the many fashion frames that we have. Eyewear has become fun to wear. We have a huge selection of sunglasses as well."
According to his website: "New technological advancements have been implemented throughout his practice. These advancements allow for earlier detection of diseases and complications, and enable a more comfortable and efficient visit. For example, the use of a specialized camera enables the doctor to obtain images of the retina and optic nerve tissue without the need for dilation."
"I love technology and constantly learning and keeping up with the latest in research and improving patient care," Ranani told Patch. "We can detect early eye disease that can save eyesight and help those with symptoms."
Some of the diseases that can be detected include eye strain, lazy eye, dry eye, galucoma, macula degeneration, hypertension and diabetic changes. He also provides routine eye exams and treatment of eye disease, including emergency eye care.
At his office, specialists provide services such as cataract surgery, cosmetic lid surgery and laser vision correction.
"I love what I do after 36 years in practice," said Ranani, who has lived in Amawalk for the last 15 years. "I have a wonderful associate, Dr. Harrison and other doctors joining our practice. I have the best staff a doctor can ask for. It's been great serving our community in Westchester and Putnam counties and often from long distances."
Yet, operating your own business presents its challenges – working 24/7 and having to be available for emergency eye care, Dr. Ranani said.
Another big challenge is the equipment that can cost more than $60,000 and requires annual costly maintenance.
"It may be more difficult to practice solo in the future because of many changes including decreased reimbursement, office overhead, etc.," Ranani said. "But solo with few practitioners together still has a certain feel and charm that I still like."
Ranani's future plans include bringing in more employees and growing his practice.
Somers Eye Center is located at 380 Route 202 Somers. They are open Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the second and fourth Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The office is closed on Thursdays.
For more information on the Somers Eye Center, check out their website.